In April 2054, Captain John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is chief of the highly controversial Washington, D.C., PreCrime police force. They use future visions generated by three “precogs”, mutated humans with precognitive abilities, to stop murders; because of this, the city has been murder-free for six years. Though Anderton is a respected member of the force, he is addicted to Clarity, an illegal psychoactive drug he began using after the disappearance of his son Sean.
With the PreCrime force poised to go nationwide, the system is audited by Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell), a member of the United States Justice Department. During the audit, the precogs predict that Anderton will murder a man named Leo Crow in 36 hours.
Believing the incident to be a setup by Witwer, who is aware of Anderton’s addiction, Anderton attempts to hide the case and quickly departs the area before Witwer begins a manhunt for him. Anderton seeks the advice of Dr. Iris Hineman (Lois Smith), the lead researcher of the PreCrime technology.
She explains to Anderton that sometimes the three precogs see different visions of the future, in which case the system only provides data on the two reports which agree; the “minority report”, reflecting the potential future where a predicted killer would have done something different, is discarded. According to Dr. Hineman, the female precog Agatha is most likely to be the precog that witnesses the minority report.
Anderton undergoes a dangerous underground eye replacement to avoid detection by the city’s optical recognition system. He travels back to PreCrime and kidnaps Agatha (Samantha Morton), which disables the precogs’ hive mind and shuts down the system. Anderton takes Agatha to a shopping mall, and a hacker, who extracts both Agatha’s vision of Crow’s murder—with no differences from the other two precogs, so there was no minority report—and another of the murder of a woman named Anne Lively—which Agatha also showed to Anderton the day before he was incriminated.
Anderton and Agatha then head to the apartment where Crow is to be killed. Inside, Anderton finds hundreds of pictures of children, one of which is of his son, and concludes that Crow is responsible for Sean’s disappearance. When Crow arrives, Anderton holds him at gunpoint, but ultimately decides to control his anger and places Crow under arrest instead.
Crow admits that he was hired to plant these photos and then be killed, so his family would be paid handsomely. Since Anderton refuses to kill him, Crow grabs the officer’s hand and makes him fire at point-blank range, effectively committing suicide by cop. On the run, Anderton and Agatha approach his ex-wife Lara for refuge. Anderton learns Lively was Agatha’s former drug-addicted mother, once before a target of a failed murder attempt after requesting to see her daughter before her death. Anderton realizes that his knowledge of the Lively case is why he is being targeted.
Character to watch: Anne Hathaway as Kym Buchman.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?